BANGOR — The Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, and its team, serves to improve the delivery of healthcare related to infectious diseases and use of antimicrobials at Northern Light Health through an array of services. These include expert support and consultation to care teams, updating hospital policies, staff and community education and public health initiatives.

Part of antimicrobial stewardship means ensuring the appropriate use of antibiotics. This is important not only to the individual patient, who can avoid unwanted side effects and consequences, but also to the population as a whole to prevent the rise of drug-resistant organisms which cause significant threats to public health.

The efforts from the Antimicrobial Stewardship team at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center recently paid off when they received an accreditation as a Stewardship Center of Excellence from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The designation recognizes healthcare facilities that implement and maintain highly effective Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs.

Rebekah Gass, MD, lead physician, Infection Disease and co-director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, says, “This designation is reflective of the expertise available at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, and our commitment to maintaining the highest quality of patient care. The bottom line is that antimicrobial stewardship improves patient outcomes and safeguards our community.”

To become a Center of Excellence, this dedicated team not only had to demonstrate that the Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality care in the use of antibiotics, but also implement incremental and lasting change at the organization.

“Antimicrobial Stewardship is not so much one specific thing as it is a culture,” explains Kyle Massey, PharmD, BCIDP, Infectious Diseases pharmacist, and co-director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. “Globally, we’ve moved away from the culture of ‘just in case’ use of antibiotics to one where we know using fewer antibiotics, shorter durations of antibiotics, and earlier transitions to oral antibiotics lead to better outcomes for our patients.”